The Minister made the call during a regional health forum, organized by the Upper East branch of the NGOs coalition in health, on Friday, in Bolgatanga.
The forum, which was under the theme,” Reaching the un-reached, the Role of Civil Organizations in Achieving Quality Health Delivery”, was aimed at addressing the challenges facing the health sector in the region and finding solutions and strategies to overcome them.
The programme, which was sponsored by the Embassy of the Royal Kingdom of the Netherlands, was also to find out how best the Coalition of NGOs in health could fit into the work agenda of the Regional Health Directorate for 2010 and beyond.
The Deputy Minister explained that it was not the sole responsibility of health professionals alone; to achieve quality healthcare delivery, but that everybody should be involved in healthcare issues since it affects everyone in society.
Mrs. Awini noted that the Region was still grappling with high infant and maternal mortality and morbidity,
which were unacceptable in this era of human development and appealed to the Coalition of NGOs in Health to collaborate and complement health institutions to embark on pragmatic programmes aimed at reversing the trend.
“You the Civil Society Originations, who have health issues at the centre of your agenda, also have collaborative and complementary role to play in the achievement of quality health care delivery”.
She challenged the NGOs in health to develop programmes to educate and sensitize the people on ways of preventing and controlling diseases and also sensitizing them to know that filth was the major cause of most sicknesses including cholera, typhoid, malaria among others.
“They should also be sensitized to eat less fatty foods, a lot of vegetables, fruits and also keep themselves physically fit by undertaking some exercise”, she stressed.
She indicated that Government was more committed to the development of the Health Sector “and that was why it increased the budget of that sector during this year’s budget for the purpose of extension, expansion, upgrading and equipping polyclinics, health Centres and institutions among others”.
She said work would soon resume on the abandoned Polyclinic in the Bolgatanga Municipality to open up people’s access to health care.
Mr George Pokoanti Wak, a Senior Research Officer of the Navrongo Health Research Centre, said his outfit, which was established in 1993, has been developing the Navrongo Health and Demographic Surveillance System, where health data was collected, including the causes of various diseases, their effects and treatments as well as maternal and infant mortality.
He noted that the Regional Health Directorate and other development partners had been relying on the centre to carry out most of their activities and said the Regional Directorate was among the best in the area of reducing maternal and infant mortality, due to the collaboration with the research centre.
He said the centre’s research work had also informed the health policies at the National level and cited the trial of the Vitamin “A” supplementation, the bed net trial and the Community health based Services Centre (CHPS) among others.
Mr Jonathan Adabre, the Regional Chairman of the Ghana Coalition of NGOS in Health said one of their major aims, as Civil Society, was to complement the efforts of the Ghana Health Service to improve and provide quality healthcare to the people.
He said “so long as women and children continue to die from preventable diseases and many people remain without access to health care, as well as the guinea worm problem and the HIV/AIDS menace still refuses to abate, our work is yet to begin.” He emphasized.
Civil Servants Insurance Scheme owes no service provider
The Upper West Civil Servants Mutual Health Insurance Scheme has paid GH¢12,000 to service providers since its inception in 2005.
It therefore owes no service provider or has any outstanding claims to pay, Mr Geoffrey Tuu, Manager of the Scheme has said.
He said the scheme receives GH¢1,496 from its 2,700 members, who pay GHC1, as dues each month.
Mr Tuu made these known at the annual general meeting of the scheme in Wa on Friday to take stock of its performance and to strategise on how to improve its operations for 2010.
He said the Upper West Region was the only region that has the scheme operating and urged members to take interest in its activities to make it sustainable.
Mr Mahmud Khalid, Upper West Regional Minister, in a speech read on his behalf by Alhaji Alhassan Issahaku, Deputy Coordinating Director, commended members of the association and urged them to contribute meaningfully towards improving service delivery under the scheme.
He urged members to take into cognizance the successes, the failures, and challenges that confront the scheme and come out with pragmatic strategies towards its sustainability.
He said Civil Service was the only public institution extensively recognised as having the unique capability and mandate to implement governments’ policies effectively and efficiently at all times.
Mr Khalid said because of the important role Civil Servants play in the country, there was the need to establish regular programmes to institutionalize the periodic reviews to ensure its continuity.
He said it was therefore not out of place that the scheme was established to take care of the health needs of the Civil and Local Government Staff to make them healthier and more productive at work their place.
He advised members of the association not to allow issues of tariffs, accommodation, job security and delays in claims to adversely affect the smooth operations of the scheme.
Mr Khalid gave the assurance that government would put in place pragmatic measures towards providing and enhancing existing facilities; build up capacity of staff in the health sector to continue to ensure that quality and prompt health care services were delivered at the doorsteps of the people.
He reminded members of the association that the health profile of the people in the region was low as it was characterised mainly by the prevalence of maternal and child deaths, malnutrition, poor environmental sanitation and persistent high morbidity, resulting from preventable disease.
Mr Khalid urged people in the region to do more about promoting quality healthcare for themselves by adopting the best health practices.
He said support for primary healthcare, the community health planning and services, expansion and the provision of equipment to health facilities were government’s priority concerns.
He said the construction of a regional hospital and the provision of health centres in some selected communities in the region would soon be built.